LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Heightened security was one of several changes awaiting Los Angeles Unified School District students as they headed back to class on Tuesday.
The increased security was prompted by the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in December of last year.
The LAUSD has increased the number of campus security aides monitoring elementary schools, allotting $4.2 million for 1,000 new positions.
“They’ve gone through their training; they are distributed at every one of our elementary schools,” Superintendent John Deasy said on Tuesday.
“We’ve redone all of our security plans and we’ve had active-shooter training during the summer,” Deasy added.
He also explained that teachers now have the discretion to move students, rather than keep them locked down, in the event of an active-shooter situation.
“We have trained the entire process about teachers using judgement should they feel that is necessary, and there are guidelines for that,” Deasy said.
Other safety precautions included surveillance cameras and fewer open gates.
In addition to beefing up security, the nation’s second-largest school district was also making changes to its curriculum and discipline procedures.
Tougher high school graduation standards will require incoming freshman to maintain a “C” average.
Previously, a “D” average was all that was needed to graduate.
Also, students will no longer be suspended for defiance, Deasy explained. Instead, the district will implement alternative forms of discipline.
“If you’re going to make very poor decisions, use a controlled substance or bring a weapon, you’re going to be expelled from school,” he emphasized.
“But this issue of defiance, which was disproportionately suspending African-American and Latino youth — that we do not use any longer,” he said.
Other changes awaiting students included healthier meals in school cafeterias and iPads in the classrooms.
Over the next couple of years, the district was expected to roll out 650,000 iPads to its students.
The LAUSD was also placing a greater emphasis on free health services. More than a dozen campuses were starting the year with new health clinics.
Both students and their families would be encouraged to utilize the new wellness centers, officials said.